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Ex-USA guard Clyde Drexler backs GB for 2012

Clyde Drexler
Drexler played for the USA 'Dream Team' at the 1992 Olympics

Ex-USA guard Clyde Drexler believes Great Britain's basketball teams should be given an automatic spot for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Unlike other Olympic sports, the GB basketball squads are not awarded a place for being the host nation.

"Wherever you are holding the Olympics you want the local citizens to have a vested interest in what happens," he told BBC London.

"And if you have a team here they'll be behind that team."

The sport's governing body the FIBA is expected to make their decision on the weekend of 12 March.

In July 2010, the federation's secretary general, Patrick Baumann told BBC Sport Great Britain must work "even harder" before it would consider giving guaranteed places as the host country.

They also want assurances about the long-term development of the sport in Great Britain.

Both the GB men's and women's teams have since qualified for this year's EuroBasket finals.

Drexler, who was part of the USA "Dream Team" in 1992, played for Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets in a career spanning 15 years.

Known as "the Glide", the 6ft 7in guard recalls winning gold at the Barcelona Games in 1992 as one of the highlights of his career.

"To be on the original Dream Team was a lot of fun," said Drexler.

"It was the first time that professional athletes in basketball were allowed to participate in the Olympics and it changed the way basketball was thought of around the world."

He considers the GB men's team to be gifted enough to be given a guaranteed spot for 2012.

"There are some very talented players here, a lot of those players have had some international and NBA exposure," he said.

"They're going to field a very good team and and that's why I think they should have a team that's qualified."



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